Breastmilk is convenient, free and environmentally friendly.
Breastfeeding has benefits for the whole family and the community.
Why is breastfeeding important?
There is strong evidence that breastfeeding provides significant short and long term health benefits for both the mother and baby.
Breast milk provides all the nutrients necessary for optimum physical and mental development of the infant.
Breast milk has unique qualities that are not found in infant formula which help build the baby’s immune system. Breastmilk changes from feed to feed to suit each baby’s changing needs, making it the perfect food to promote healthy growth and development.
Research shows babies who are breastfed are protected against some infectious conditions such as gastroenteritis and respiratory infections, and have less ear infections. Breastmilk has been shown to decrease the incidence of chronic disease in later life such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Mothers who breastfeed return to their pre-pregnancy health sooner and have a reduced incidence of breast and ovarian cancer, osteoporosis and type 2 diabetes.
National Health and Medical Research Council recommendation
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed to around six months of age, and that breastfeeding should continue with complementary foods (solids) to at least 12 months of age and beyond; for as long as the mother and infant wish.
Exclusive breastfeeding is when the baby is only given breast milk, which is all the food and drink that a baby needs for the first six months.
The ACT Breastfeeding Strategy
The ACT Health Directorate is committed to facilitating a whole of government approach to protect, promote and support breastfeeding through the ACT Breastfeeding Strategic Framework 2010-2015.
Where can I get breastfeeding support in the ACT?
Breastfeeding support is available from a variety of services in a variety of ways. These are summarised in the following document:
Face to face support
- Your doctor
Your General Practitioner can provide breastfeeding information and support.
- Maternal and Child Health (MACH) nursing services
To make an appointment, phone Community Health Intake on (02) 6207 9977 between 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 3:30pm Wednesdays (excluding public holidays).
For brief consultations drop in clinics are also available. For location and times please click on the 'MACH clinic times flyer' link below’. From Monday 27 July, drop-in clinics will no longer be offered at Narrabundah Child Health Clinic.
For location and times please click on the 'MACH clinic times flyer' link below.
'Early Days' are special group information sessions available to address the feeding and settling concerns of mothers with infants under three months of age. Please note that from Tuesday 4 February changes have been made to the location and timing of early days. For locations and times please click on the link below.
Telephone support for families
- Pregnancy, Birth and Baby Helpline – 1800 882 436 – provides a 24 hour helpline and is a free call
- healthdirect Australia – 1800 022 222 - provides a 24 hour helpline and is a free call
- Child, Youth and Family Gateway - For a free support service for children, young people and families in Canberra phone 1800 647 831 9am-9pm 7 days a week, excluding public holidays.
- Mum to Mum 1800 mum 2 mum or 1800 686 2 686 - a 24 hour breastfeeding helpline, where parents can talk to an Australian Breastfeeding Association counsellor
- Community Health Intake – (02) 6207 9977 between 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 3:30pm Wednesdays (excluding public holidays) - provides information to clients and the general public in relation to services within the organisation
Online Breastfeeding Resources
There’s also a suite of breastfeeding articles and videos on the Raising Children Network website:
Nutrition for breastfeeding mothers
Eating well is important during breastfeeding to provide the right nutrition for you and your baby. For more information on general nutrition while breastfeeding, weight management and meal and snack ideas, see the Good Nutrition while breastfeeding information booklet:
Feed Safe is an iPhone and iPad App built for breastfeeding mothers through a collaboration between the ABA, Reach Health Promotion Innovations and Curtin University. It helps mothers to safely manage alcohol consumption while breastfeeding. Download it free from the App Store.